Affect vs. Effect

Affect is most often used as a verb meaning “to have an impact on,” as in “The tornado barreling towards us will affect our picnic plans.”

Effect is the result of an action, as in those “cause and effect” papers you might write in English class. Your topic could be how your late-night tuba playing (cause) has driven your roommate insane (effect).

Capital vs. Capitol

Capital is a most important city in the area or country and generally referred to as a government seat. Capitol is a building where legislators meet and have a session. Think of the Capitol Building in Washington, DC, that is home to US Senators and Representatives.

Wonder vs. Wander
Wander means to travel aimlessly. Wonder means to question or imagine as a verb, and a state of wonder or excitement or a magnificent object as a noun.

Choose vs. Chose
Choose is the simple present and future tense forms of the verb to choose, which means to select something instead of something else. Chose is the simple past tense form of the same verb.

Commonly Confused Words – Part 3

CONSCIENCE-sense of right and wrong
ex: The student's conscience kept him from cheating on the exam.
ex: I was conscious when the burglar entered the house.

COUNCIL-a group that consults or advises
ex: The men and women on the council voted in favor of an outdoor concert in their town.
COUNSEL-to advise
ex: The parole officer counseled the convict before he was released.

ELICIT-to draw or bring out
ex: The teacher elicited the correct response from the student.
ex: The Columbian drug lord was arrested for his illicit activities.

EMINENT-famous, respected
ex: The eminent podiatrist won the Physician of the Year award.
IMMANENT-inherent or intrinsic
ex: The meaning of the poem was immanent, and not easily recognized.
IMMINENT-ready to take place
ex: A fight between my sister and me is imminent from the moment I enter my house.

LIE-to lie down (a person or animal. hint: people can tell lies)
ex: I have a headache, so I'm going to lie down for a while.
(also lying, lay, has/have lain–The dog has lain in the shade all day; yesterday, the dog lay there for twelve hours).
LAY-to lay an object down.
ex: "Lay down that shotgun, Pappy!" The sheriff demanded of the crazed moonshiner.
ex: The town lay at the foot of the mountain.
(also laying, laid, has/have laid–At that point, Pappy laid the shotgun on the ground).

LOSE–verb, to misplace or not win
ex: Mom glared at Mikey. "If you lose that new lunchbox, don't even think of coming home!"
LOOSE–adjective, to not be tight; verb (rarely used)–to release
ex: The burglar's pants were so loose that he was sure to lose the race with the cop chasing him.
ex: While awaiting trial, he was never set loose from jail because no one would post his bail.

STATIONARY-standing still
ex: The accident was my fault because I ran into a stationary object.
STATIONERY-writing paper
ex: My mother bought me stationery that was on recycled paper.

SUPPOSED TO-correct form for "to be obligated to" or "presumed to" NOT "suppose to"
SUPPOSE-to guess or make a conjecture
ex: Do you suppose we will get to the airport on time? When is our plane supposed to arrive? We are supposed to check our bags before we board, but I suppose we could do that at the curb and save time.

The difference between “Everyday” and “Every Day”

"Everyday" is an adjective. meaning commonplace, usual; suitable for or used on ordinary days. Since it is an adjective, it will be modifying a noun in the sentence, so you should expect it to appear near a noun. 


  • The worries of everyday life can drag you down.
  • The politician had trouble resonating with everyday people.

"Every day" is an adverbial phrase. meaning each day; daily. The first word every is an adjective and the second word day is a noun, and together they function as an adverbial phrase.


  • I attend classes every day of the week.
  • I eat yogurt every day.

More Commonly Confused Words

Assent: agreement, approval
Ascent: the action of rising or climbing up

Aural: relating to the ears or hearing
Oral: relating to the mouth; spoken

Balmy: pleasantly warm
Barmy: foolish, crazy

Bare: naked, to uncover
Bear: to carry; to put with

Bazaar: a Middle Eastern market
Bizarre: strange

Berth: a bunk in a ship, train, etc.
Birth: the emergence of a baby from the womb

Born: having started life
Borne: carried

Bough: a branch of a tree 
Bow: to bend the head; the front of a ship

Brake: a device for stopping a vehicle; to stop a vehicle
Break: to separate into pieces; a pause

Broach: to raise a subject for discussion
Brooch: a piece of jewelry

Commonly Confused Words

Accept: To agree to receive or do
Except: not including

Adverse:  unfavourable, harmful
Averse:  strongly disliking; opposed

Aisle: a passage between rows of seats
Isle: an island

All together: all in one place, all at once
Altogether: completely; on the whole

Along: moving or extending horizontally on
A long: referring to something of great length

Aloud: out loud
Allowed: permitted

Altar: a sacred table in a church
Alter: to change

Amoral: not concerned with right or wrong
Immoral: not following accepted moral standards

Appraise: to assess
Apprise: to inform someone

Some words I've recently come across:

Mnemonic: something intended to assist the memory, as a verse or formula.

Loquacious: means excessive talking.

Imperturbable: incapable of being upset or agitated; not easily excited; calm.

Assiduous: constant in application or effort; working diligently at a task; persevering; industrious; attentive.

Iridescent: an iridescent cloth, material, or other substance. Lustous or shimmery colors.

Attenuate(verb) :to weaken or reduce in force, intensity, effect, quantity, or value: to attenuate desire.

The Ghosts of the Stratton House
by Kristina Stammen

White billowy clouds blanketed the sky with the sun giving off an aura of heaven. I tilt my face toward the sun and smile, my husband is at my side. We are walking with arms entwined in a beautiful rose garden when from nowhere a loud cannon shot is heard and I suddenly fall to the ground. When I woke up I found myself in a moving car. The person at the wheel was wearing a black leather jacket. I couldn’t quite figure out who it was and I couldn’t even remember my name.

“Madison, wake up!!” the person next to me yelled. Slowly I turn my head in the direction of the voice and found a bitchy-looking girl.

“Don’t call me that!” I said in anger to the brunette bitch causing her to turn up her nose and shut up. I looked around and noticed we were going somewhere. Up ahead I saw a huge white house and realized what was going on. These three so-called friends had planned on scaring me to death by playing a practical joke on me. Despite my appearance of long blond hair, brown eyes and a height of five foot nine, I was considered an intelligent, introverted girl who didn’t have many friends. My name was Madison Stratton but preferred to be called Maddy. These so-called friends always enjoyed picking on me and this was no exception.

“Guess where we’re going?” the guy in front me teasingly asked as the other two just laughed.

“Spike, don’t scare Madison away like that,” the person in the front passenger seat said.

“We’re going to the Stratton House. Your favorite place!” Spike said menacingly.

Now I knew what was planned. They wanted me to see the house where the famous Stratton family once lived thus causing much humiliation to me because my last name was Stratton.  I knew that I was not part of the Stratton family, or did I. The house had a rather interesting history which started in the 17th century when the house was built. Spike stopped in front of the old Stratton House as the others just laughed. I groaned in agony.

In a bad shabby state, the Stratton House was considered Spooks Ville, even scarier at Halloween time.  Kids would throw stones at already broken windows and dare each other to go inside.

(This is an excerpt of a short story I wrote.)

A Poem
By Kristina Stammen (October 2001)

Today I lost my best friend.
I will no longer see her eager brown eyes,
Wagging tail, and happy face.
Lady enjoyed a life full of verve.
A dog’s day of eating and sleeping.
The simple things only a four-legged creature can ask for.
She also liked rolling around in bed sheets,
Sunning herself and sniffing the fragrant air.
Flowers ranging from roses and lantana.
I remember taking her to the beach
And she tried drinking the salty water.
Lady was there when I needed to air my problems.
A friendly ear and unconditional love.
Dogs are great listeners.
I will deeply miss Lady.
Her partner in crime, Tramp, is now alone.
May he live a long time.

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Here are some more common misspelled words

Correct Spelling Incorrect Spelling
harass  harrass
humorous  humerous 
imaginary  imaginery
immediately  imediately
irrelevant  irrelevent
jealous  jellous
jewelry  jewelery 
kernel  kernal
liaison  liason
lightning  lightening 
maintenance  maintenence, maintainance, maintnance
misspell  mispell, misspel
necessary  neccessary, necessery
noticeable  noticable 


Here are some common misspelled words

Correct Spelling Incorrect Spelling
acceptable  acceptible 

acknowlege, aknowledge

because becuase
becoming becomeing
calendar calender
Caribbean  Carribean
congratulate congradulate
conscientious  consciencious 
deceive decieve
equipment  equiptment 
foreign  foriegn 
friend  freind
guarantee  garantee, garentee, garanty
guidance  guidence 


Here are some words that people get confused on:

Advise: means to give counsel to. 

Advice: means giving one's opinion or recommendation on something. 

Illusion: the condition or state of being deceived.

Allusion:  making a casual or indirect reference to something.

Complimentary: expressing a compliment or giving something free of charge.

Complementary: means forming a complement or completing. 

Affect: means to make influence.

Effect: to produce results. 

Stationary: means standing still, not moving

Stationery: writing materials such as paper, pen, and pencil.


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